Sunday, 20 September 2020
Youth in Revolt
Thursday, 14 January 2010 16:39
Youth In RevoltI wouldn’t exactly call Youth in Revolt a “sweet” coming-of-age movie, but this quirky film definitely has a lot of racing hormones and rebellion. Much like the teenaged characters, it is too busy clumsily exploring all the possibilities to realize its full potential in any one area.

Youth in Revolt stars Michael Cera who has become the poster boy for nerdy adolescent awkwardness. Sometimes I wonder how he feels about that, since he is now 22 years old. But – hey – he’s rich and super famous so I doubt it keeps him awake at night. With that fame and fortune I also doubt it’s as hard for him to get the girls as it is for the gawky boys he plays.

Cera plays Nick Twisp, a young do-gooder who loves Frank Sinatra and “classic prose”. He lives with his mom (Jean Smart) who changes boyfriends like day-of-the-week undies. Nick travels with her and her latest guy (Zack Galifianakis) to vacation at a trashy trailer in a campground community where he meets the girl of his wet-dreams. Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) is mature and seductive – the product of wealthy, religious fanatic parents.

Cera and DoubledayNick falls head over heels, but has to jump through hoops to hold Sheeni’s attention. When vacation is over he is desperate to stay with her, even if it means breaking the law and moving in with his cradle-robbing dad (Steve Buscemi). In order to accomplish his goals Nick creates an alter-ego named “Francois Dillinger”, a chain-smoking bad boy version of himself with a pencil thin mustache.

Youth in Revolt is at its best when Michael Cera is left to do his thing and act against his own alter-ego. There are some really great moments when he is simply observing himself as this other more rebellious person. Through Francoise he can break his mothers heart, blow up private property and set fires (even in the pants of the girl he likes). He often looks sort of horrified at his own actions.

Cera and the Evil CeraWhat I didn’t buy was the romance between Nick and Sheeni. She is certainly pretty and fresh enough to be the object of desire, but too cold and emotionless for me to really want a romance to work. I couldn’t quite figure out if she genuinely likes him or if she is playing him for an idiot the whole time. She seems delighted when he breaks the rules for her, even conspiring with him so they can be together. But when he’s around she’s distant, talking about her “perfect” ex, or her casual attitude toward sex. She’s a tease, dangling the proverbial carrot only to yank it away repeatedly. I can only imagine the life of self-doubt he’d be in for if they stayed together.

Youth in Revolt has some very funny moments and a quirky, comical script. The preview gives away far too many of the biggest laughs, so I found myself anticipating a lot of the scenes. Overall it’s an enjoyable movie but not as clever or insightful as it would like us to think it is.